I can see what a big influence this book has had on a certain generation of Afro-American writers (Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, I'm talking to you). F...moreI can see what a big influence this book has had on a certain generation of Afro-American writers (Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, I'm talking to you). For me as a contemporary reader, it suffered a bit from the Citizen Kane effect; you know, when something is so copied that when you see the original work you feel like it's a little clichéd, when in fact that work may have invented those tropes. I had to keep reminding myself that this was written in 1939 and wasn't 'historical' fiction. And the dialect really, really slowed me down, so I probably *enjoyed* this less than I could have, had it read more smoothly for me. There is a lot of dialogue and I had to work at it. But you know, I'm a native English speaker so I'm a spoiled brat like that already.(less)
Honestly, if anyone needs an argument for why feminism was (is still) necessary, this is it. Ireland in the fifties (sixties?) sounds dire. Poor girl...moreHonestly, if anyone needs an argument for why feminism was (is still) necessary, this is it. Ireland in the fifties (sixties?) sounds dire. Poor girl is trapped in all the situations in which she finds herself and doesn't know how to make choices when she's given them, having no experience with it. She is, it's true, as Baba says, 'drippy' but is it any wonder. Somehow I'm reminded of that Rohinton Mistry book, a fine balance. Both books show clearly how circumstances and control us. On with #3 now...(less)
Kind of pulpier than I would have liked. It doesn't exactly explore how differently women might behave in such a situation to how men might if it were...moreKind of pulpier than I would have liked. It doesn't exactly explore how differently women might behave in such a situation to how men might if it were reversed. It kind of just has ... hmmm, what do I mean? I mean, it's a kind of post-apocalyptic escape adventure sci-fi thriller, and the fact that all the characters except one are women doesn't really differentiate the dynamics between the characters from other examples of that genre. Which you kind of could go 'fair enough, people are people' at, but it *does* kind of counteract the premise and erase its difference from other post-apocalyptic scenarios.
I mean, it's a comic book, right? I mean that in the sense of, it's not graphic literature, it's graphic genre fiction. So it's not particularly character-driven. And it's more plot/action-driven than sci-fi. But for that, it's pacy and well plotted and warm-hearted and young, and I will keep reading. The main character is not an asshole, which I appreciate.
What else: 1. What was driving the Amazons before they knew there was a last man? Is it not a bit silly that, considering who they are named for, their reason for existence seems to focus around him? What were they doing for the first few months after the event? Sitting around wishing there were men to be angry at? Surely not. I would have liked to understand how this group was formed/where they were coming from before they found Yorick. I'm actually not even sure that this book passes the Bechdel test. Everybody's conversation is about a man! :) I do think that the best way to pass the spirit of the test is for your protagonist to be female. In a way this reads as sensitive enlightened man's fantasy ... 'what would it be like for me if it was only women on the earth ... plus me'. But it's a real pleasure to have so many female characters, I'm not complaining about that.
2. Early on in the book I thought - how are they going to have the protagonist ever *do* stuff if he's covered up and hiding all the time? The creators must have felt the same, because they pretty much abandoned that quickly. For someone so very vulnerable and depending on secrecy, he's pretty visible out there in the world.
3. I'd like to see how X: The Last Woman would go.
4. Yorick is a bit annoying. 'I am the last man on earth and I refuse to sleep with anyone but my girlfriend, who I don't know if is alive as she's on another continent and I haven't seen her for four months'. I predict some pregnancy with a non-Beth character coming up. I hope so. It's not all that plausible otherwise. Surely the rules of sexual monogamy change when you are the only man there is? That wouldn't change his love for Beth, or potentially his monogamy with her if she were found. Does he really believe he can repopulate the human race with Beth only? A woman can only reproduce so often. I'm not sure why no-one has tried to get him to be a sperm donor yet. (You can think of that euphemistically or literally.)
5. I loved the Republicans' wives and the political implications. Let's see more of that in future issues. I want to see more exploration of the structural issues.
6. Sonia says 'it would take a lot more than all the men dying to make me eat pussy'. That's fair enough, but as a response to a question about women partnering up it's a little over the top. I mean, plenty of women *would* partner up, whether they engaged in oral or not. People need intimacy. Look at what happens in male prisons when there are no women, plenty of guys who would be homophobes on the outside get into sexual partnerships of some kind. It seems like Sonia is expressing some very hetero-normative opinions here on behalf of the authors. Surely the fun of this book should be that all those norms can go out of the window? She's letting the readers know that they can expect a conventional romance between Yorick and Sonia (if a truncated one, as it turns out). Considering the concept of the book, this angle is a bit conservative.
7. p168: "Yorick, this is a town of sixty-seven gossiping women..." CLUNK! slash eye-roll.
I would just like it to go FURTHER with the premise ... but it's a comic book. So no worries! I'm enjoying it. And there are four more collections to go, so maybe more ops to go deeper.(less)
Excellent. I didn't know much about the Romantic poets and their entourages, but having heard Daisy Hay talk on the radio about this book, I was hooke...moreExcellent. I didn't know much about the Romantic poets and their entourages, but having heard Daisy Hay talk on the radio about this book, I was hooked into her essential idea about the importance of sociability and the friendship groups to all these writers. What I didn't know I was going to get was such a thorough deconstruction of the negative impact of 'free love' on the women in the circle, and such a thorough picture of what it was to be an educated creative woman in that period. Basically, once you had the children, the men just ignored you and you had to be domestic while they continued with their work and fun shenanigans. Plus when your men died, you were screwed financially unless you had your own money. The expectation of all the men that the women would always be available to them in whichever ways they needed was a bit intense. Oh, also, if you split from the father of your child, he had the right to take them off you and do whatever he wanted with them, like send them to a convent and ignore them forever. Byron comes off like a total ass in this book. Leigh Hunt was also an interesting character I'd hitherto not heard of.
Hay tells it all like a really interesting story, I could see a movie adaptation rolling out in front of my eyes. Sadly I looked at all the illustrations once I reached that section, including the ones that related to incidents that hadn't happened in the narrative yet. Some paintings should have spoiler warnings on them, I don't care if the events were 180 years ago. Honestly, when will I learn this about illustrations?
It's a really really good book and now I don't need to read Shelley cause I've got the gist in a more entertaining way. (less)
Aside from a few YA touches that were a bit *too* YA for me (not the book's fault that I'm not that young any more), this was great. I read it in abou...moreAside from a few YA touches that were a bit *too* YA for me (not the book's fault that I'm not that young any more), this was great. I read it in about 4 hours on my flight. Katniss is a great character to follow around and watch her try to survive. Creates a strong alternative world that I'm interested in learning more about.(less)
I can't remember any more which book features which adventures of Anastasia, but I used to freaking love this character and her family. I first heard...moreI can't remember any more which book features which adventures of Anastasia, but I used to freaking love this character and her family. I first heard of Billie Holliday because of these books (Anastasia's father has never forgiven her for leaving the Billie Holliday records on the radiator). These are kind of modern versions of your Anne of Green Gables kind of character; smart and precocious and heaps of personality, getting into scrapes and whatnot. Girls at those ages need stories about girls who are simply themselves and doing their thing. Every time I call something a 'debacle' (which is kind of frequent) it's in slight homage to these books.(less)
Another book I've read and forgotten. I don't really even remember what this was about - I read it when I was in high school - but I remember finding...moreAnother book I've read and forgotten. I don't really even remember what this was about - I read it when I was in high school - but I remember finding it very American and not relating that much to it.(less)
I love Janet Malcolm's metabiography - it's kind of a genre all of her own. She deconstructs the processes of scholarly biographising at the same time...moreI love Janet Malcolm's metabiography - it's kind of a genre all of her own. She deconstructs the processes of scholarly biographising at the same time as undertaking it, and asks all the tricky questions of her subjects, and of those others who would also ask such questions. I must say, I'm not terribly sold on reading more of Stein now, and not particularly drawn to her character. This was certainly a great book.(less)
I wish more men would read this book (and all women with any ambition should read Tannen's 'talking from nine to five'). My partner, a very educated p...moreI wish more men would read this book (and all women with any ambition should read Tannen's 'talking from nine to five'). My partner, a very educated professional liberal type seems to think it's Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and refuses to touch it, which is simply ridiculous and not at all what this book is like. All of Tannen's assertions are grounded in research, and she's careful not to stereotype, despite what some reviewers here think. She is clear about the limitations of generalising. I particularly found convincing Tannen's evidence drawn from single-gender groups of children and her deconstruction of how they learn to interact from one another, and how they learn to successfully operate within single-gender contexts.(less)
This book is really for laymen but it's a fantastically clear way of explaining some of the motivations behind some contemporary art. Its emphasis is...moreThis book is really for laymen but it's a fantastically clear way of explaining some of the motivations behind some contemporary art. Its emphasis is on politically driven work. This book would be a good answer to a lot of instances of the question 'how is that art?' ... not so much in terms of things like abstract expressionism or, I don't know, Jessica Stockholder or David Shrigley. It's an excellent fast read too, and very well illustrated.(less)